Cold Spring Police Report

Following is the report by Officer-in-Charge George Kane of the Cold Spring Police Department for the month of June.

The month of June 2016 was as expected busier than normal for the Cold Spring police. Officers handled 100 calls for service in the village, the most notable being two burglaries and two attempted burglaries on June 7. This case is still under investigation. Another notable event was an arrest for DWI, which occurred on Route 9D on June 18 and another arrest made for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle which occurred on June 16.

Officers issued 126 parking tickets for various village code violations including limited time parking and expired parking meter at the Fair Street lot. Officers also issued 68 tickets to motorists for various vehicle and traffic infractions.

As the summer vacation season starts CSPD reminds residents to take advantage of the department’s Dark House program. After filling out a short form, officers will make regular checks of your home while you are away on vacation. The purpose of this program is to prevent and deter burglaries and give the homeowner peace of mind while they are away.

The Community Day celebration (July 3) went very well. Several thousand spectators came out to celebrate the Fourth of July. Just about every parking space in the village was taken. In the end only two incidents occurred; these were not related to the festivities. CSPD along with Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Little Stony Point beach to assist New York State Park Police with large, unruly crowd, which was dispersed after several beach patrons were issued tickets.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, CSPD arrested a male for Assault 3 after he punched a woman causing physical injury while they were exiting the Cold Spring Boat Club. The male was arraigned on July 4 in Village Court and remanded to the Putnam County Jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

9 thoughts on “Cold Spring Police Report

  1. Officer Kane’s clear and helpful report on police activity in Cold Spring would be improved by including an addendum with statistics showing important detail, such as a breakdown of calls by category, shift and day of week, how many calls were “mutual aid,” and how many calls were from outside the village. It is hard to see how the board of trustees can effectively execute its responsibility to manage the police force without these basic statistics.

    It is likely that the data entry system used by the Cold Spring police for many years can provide summary statistics on incidents by time, source, and category. Even if the current system has weak reporting functions, surely it should be able to make the raw data captured over the years available for analysis. From that data, it should be possible to generate a comprehensive history going back several years that would inform the trustees’ budget discussions.

    • Does the village of Cold Spring, and therefore its taxpayers (mostly payers of village property taxes), by funding a police force – and also by funding a fire company – subsidize to some extent the public safety of the greater region? I strongly suspect it does.

      Does the village of Cold Spring, and therefore its taxpayers, by funding a police force (and by funding a range of public infrastructures, and various village-sponsored public events) subsidize to a significant extent commercial and economic activity in all its various forms both within the village as well as in the greater region? I firmly believe it does.

      Does this commercial and economic activity result in other types of public levies: in the forms of sales and income taxes, among others, revenues of which are largely not “shared” back with the village? Clearly this is the case.

      While the need for a review of these matters does not rise to the level of an emergency, they should be discussed and considered expeditiously, in the interest of fairness and economy.

      • While I understand and have some sympathy for Mr. Haggerty’s concern that Cold Spring is footing the bill for security services provided to adjacent communities (who seem to be freeloading), his argument runs afoul of the principle of “no taxation without representation.”

        Cold Spring’s elected officials choose year after year — freely and without coercion — to fund a 24/7 police force, at extravagant cost to its taxpayers. Not one of the taxpayers in Nelsonville or Garrison or North Highlands has been given the opportunity to vote on the funding of Cold Spring’s police. Requiring them to pay while denying them the right to vote on that spending would clearly violate the principle that if you are required to pay taxes, you must be able to vote on the issue — or you must have elected officials who represent your interests in the matter.

        Cold Spring boards have for decades avoided public debate of the enormous expense for Village police. Fully a quarter of the Village’s property tax revenue is spent on policing. Those police services are in addition to those residents already pay for County policing, and in addition to those Village residents also pay for State policing. The brave promises by candidates that there will be no sacred cows when the budget is developed somehow are forgotten when it comes to police services.

        • I certainly did not mean to indicate that taxpayers nearby but wholly outside of Cold Spring village should be expected to pay, directly at least, for appropriations in the budget of the village of Cold Spring. Nonetheless these taxpayers, and others, are receiving a significant benefit without paying for it from these appropriations, and specifically under discussion here is the appropriation for a village police force.

          One may ask what benefit if any accrues to the village of Cold Spring, and to its taxpayers, from its police force. Why is it funded year in and year out at levels, for example, allowing 24/7 coverage? Frankly there is very little crime within the village, and this is similarly so in the neighboring areas of the Town of Philipstown, as far as I can tell. On the other hand, Cold Spring has, in contrast with the rest of its nearby neighbors, a very high density of residences and a very high density of commercial activity. This should be a clue to the mystery.

          The great bulk of the effort in which the Cold Spring police department is engaged is the regulation of village codes and norms in the fields of vehicular traffic, congestion in all its forms, and, parking. (At least from what I can see. We do need more and better data as to the activities.) The merit, and the motivation, for most of this traffic, congestion, and parking is, of course, commercial activities — commerce, and a high density of it. With less commerce there would be less traffic to regulate, less congestion to monitor, less parking to enforce. And less cost to the village taxpayer.

          Certainly there is as well traffic, congestion and parking concerns which result from the presence of a consolidated public educational facility within the limits of the village. It is not commerce here but the size of the school district and the number of students which in this case determine the level of traffic, congestion, and parking. However the demands from this school system are far less than the demands to the village which result from the very high density of commercial activity.

          Why does the village taxpayer, in the greatest amount residential property owners, year in and year out fund a police force which in effect is providing a subsidy to facilitate and promote, even manage the effects of, commerce? Why does the village taxpayer fund a police force which is, consequent to the absence of any other locally funded police force, on an ongoing basis supplying aid and services to nearby neighbors (again better data and reporting would be helpful)?

          Perhaps residents and taxpayers have not thought much about this topic. Perhaps the local democracy is not so much what it has been made out to be. By and large this newish paper the Highland Current is and can continue to play a role.

          • Commerce is integral to the peculiar character of the Village of Cold Spring, and the suggestion that it is somehow an alien presence that forces residents to pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for policing misses the mark. The retail establishments along Main Street that cater to tourists help maintain property values in the Village by providing income for building upkeep and improvement, even if (unfortunately, in my view) no sales tax dollars flow to village or town government.

            The village needs to have a discussion on police services, one that is informed by an understanding of the village’s overall fiscal situation, an agreement on the facts of police services provided by Village, County and State, and an assessment of alternatives.

          • One may very well ask, “What benefit, if any, accrues to the village of Cold Spring, and to its taxpayers, from its police force? Why is it funded year in and year out at levels, for example, allowing 24/7 coverage?” And I would respond, little or none.

            The unnecessary police department, which spends about 25 percent of every dollar of your budget, is not a function or result of commerce on Main Street. In fact, the PD has absolutely zero to do with the businesses that help support the tax base and lessen the burden on residential properties. Any planning study will tell you the greatest driver of taxes in the community is not commercial but resident properties. It now costs nearly $30,000 per pupil to educate a child from K through 12, and that is a low-ball estimate.

            Compared to that, your commercial tax base is generating income with every little, if any, cost to the taxpayer. As I have pointed out for many years, try living in a town that has no commercial rate-ables and see how high the taxes are.

            Rather, as has been pointed out many times by Mr. Armstrong, the PD still exists because apparently people can’t bear the idea of getting rid of it, no matter what the cost or how inefficient the service. As you said, “residents and taxpayers have not thought much about this topic.”

            Finally, the claim that village taxpayers are subsidizing the rest of the county with the local PD is just the opposite.

            Our taxes — yours, mine and everyone else’s — pay for at least two layers of more than adequate police protection — the county Sheriff’s Department and the State Police. In fact, there is a wonderful Sheriff Substation right up the road in Nelsonville. Both the SD and SP patrol Philipstown, which does not have its own department. Both the SD and SP will respond to calls whenever necessary, 24/7/365.

            All of the taxpayers are subsidizing these two layers of police coverage that the people of Cold Spring can use or not use. It’s not our fault that the village wants a third police force even if, as you say, there’s not much crime to speak of. That is your choice. Maybe it’s time for the residents to do a cost/benefit analysis to see if they really can afford to pay for three departments. Cold Spring is not Chicago.

          • Many residents of Cold Spring — myself included — have complained about the fact that the County government shares none of the sales tax revenue garnered from retail activity in the village. I find the county argument — that the County is forced to cover the cost of so many unfunded mandates that it cannot afford to share — to be unpersuasive. Every other county in the state faces those same burdens, but almost every one manages to share some portion of that revenue.

            The second part of the complaint is that the value of the services the County provides to the Village is a tiny fraction of the sales tax revenue the Village sends to the County. If you think more carefully about County services, however, you will see that the County is in reality providing police services of considerable value, perhaps even commensurate with village sales tax revenues. We in the Village — and I am embarrassed to include myself in that “we” — have simply been blind to it. We deny that County police services to the village exist at all, and we believe that the County’s obligation to serve all of its citizens equally somehow does not apply to us.

            The County Sheriff benefits from the Cold Spring Police providing mutual aid, and is likely to show little enthusiasm for the Village reducing or eliminating its own force. But the best answer to the County’s failure to share sales taxes would be to include the dollar value of County police services for Cold Spring in the tally of benefits. The Village should have an honest conversation about its real needs, and not be blind to the fact that some of those needs can be and are being met by others.

  2. This certainly is a fascinating and often surprising discussion.

    At least viewpoints and differences may be presented with frankness and civility, as they are here, tempered in an appropriate level of restraint and caution. That is as useful and laudable as it is increasingly uncommon nowadays.

  3. When Putnam Valley abolished its standalone police department back in 1997 (I think that was the year), the PD budget was well over $1 million a year and climbing drastically. At that time, the population was under 10,000 people and we were also well-served by the State Police and Sheriff’s Department, especially when it came to “major” crimes that our local PD could not handle. Like CS we effectively had three police agencies in a town with hardly any crime to speak of.

    Abolishing our town PD created a civil war that lasted for several years. There was actual violence directed mostly at those who favored abolition. Families were divided in half between those who wanted to keep the police and those wanted to get rid of the department. It was truly one of the ugliest periods in my town’s history. Like Cold Spring, this was more of an emotional issue than a financial one. We had all the same arguments that I am reading here, especially the fiction about “local control.”

    Ultimately our courageous town board did the right thing and voted to abolish, despite literally threats against themselves and their families. Shortly thereafter we had a referendum in which people voted to abolish.

    Cold Spring should take note: When all was said and done, Putnam Valley saved millions of dollars with no loss of police services. We now have both a Sheriff’s substation and a place for the State Police. Our population has gone up over the years, but we have never had a problem with either the SD or SP. If anything, they are more efficient and better able to handle the small amount of crime that we have. You certainly don’t hear anyone complaining about it.

    I sincerely hope that my friends and neighbors in Cold Spring can take the leap in a very civilized manner, and look seriously at saving yourselves a lot of money that you really need for other expenses that are not covered by the County or State. Learn from our mistakes — you don’t have to have a war, just begin an honest discussion, like what is happening here, and see where it takes you. You may be very surprised.